Hurricane Threats

Hurricane Threats

Man on Surfboard Surfing on Wave

A hurricane’s deadly forces

The combination of water and wind can have devastating impacts on nature and man. Learn what these deadly features can do and how to survive them.

Storm Tides and Waves

Storm surge is simply the growth in water that floods the coast as water is pushed onshore by strong winds, and to a much lesser degree very low pressure. It’s important that you be aware of the tides of the coastal region where you’re located. By way of example, many locations on the Gulf coast have very small tidal ranges, whereas places on the U.S. east coast have large tidal ranges. It makes a substantial difference on the consequences to the shore if a hurricane moves ashore during a low or high tide in a location where the tidal range is large. Today, inland flood causes the biggest loss of life. In the past, when hurricane forecasting technology was much less complicated, storm surge was the motive for most deaths. It is ideal to leave a structure that could be affected by the storm tide of a hurricane. The force from sea water is extremely powerful and can destroy a home easily. High waves take the debris from destroyed buildings which are on the coast that batter other structures further inland. Houses built on stilts have a much greater survivability from surge damage. Nevertheless, it is wise not to “ride out” a hurricane and evacuate to a safer place.

High Winds

Hurricanes produce strong sustained winds that have the capability of destroying structures and toppling trees and power lines. The Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale provides an estimate on the type of wind damage which can be expected with various categories of hurricanes. A major hurricane is thought to be a category 3 or higher. Strong winds can blow in garage doors, Cocoa Beach Rat Removal, break windows, or lift roofs from homes. Be sure that you have shutters or plywood to cover windows properly during a hurricane. Also, know how structurally sound your roof and garage doors are so that they won’t fail in the event of high winds. The safest place to stay is in the basement to protect you and your family from high winds. If you’re in a flood zone, then evacuate to higher ground. If you do not have a basement, find a small room on the lowest floor with no windows near the middle of the home to stay.


Tornadoes are often associated with land falling tropical cyclones. The majority of the tornadoes occur within 24 hours of land fall, although it’s possible for tornadoes to still occur a couple of days later still connected with the circulation. The most significant hurricane associated tornado outbreak on record happened with Hurricane Ivan in 2004 with 123 tornadoes. Unlike their Midwest cousins, tornadoes on average are weaker in hurricanes. There’s usually a weaker signature on radar and hail nearly never accompanies them. Stronger land falling hurricanes have a greater potential to create tornadoes than poorer ones. Tornadoes occur with land falling hurricanes as the storm moves over land and encounters greater low level friction from the property. This slows the wind at the surface more than higher aloft, adding to vertical wind shear. It is this increase in wind shear that sets up an environment favorable for tornado development.


All hurricanes do not produce severe flooding. There are several factors that lead to the flooding potential of a hurricane or weaker tropical cyclone. The most important factor is the rate of movement. If a tropical cyclone moves into a region where steering currents from the winds aloft are feeble, very heavy rain can result. It’s possible for the tropical cyclone to be nearly stationary for days resulting in very heavy rainfall amounts of 40 to 50 inches or more. Rainfall amounts are also influenced by the terrain of a place. Mountains cause an added lift to happen, enhancing rainfall rates on the windward slopes. The surrounding environment where the hurricane forms is another consideration. If a hurricane forms in the deep tropics, it generally can tap a deeper source of heavy layered moisture. Hurricanes that form in higher latitudes have a higher prospect of entraining dry air from mid latitude weather systems limiting moisture. When a tropical cyclone is coming, understand the possibility of heavy rainfall to make flooding or flash flooding in which you live. If you live in a flood plain, evacuate to high ground before the hurricane’s effects arrive.

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